Damen allocating more yard space to build SeaXplorer 77
by Chris Jefferies and Caroline White
Yacht builder Damen is making preparations to ramp up production on its SeaXplorer series of explorer yachts. The Dutch yard revealed earlier this year at the Palm Beach International Boat Show that construction had begun on its SeaXplorer 77 project.
Now Damen has announced that it is reallocating much of the yard space that was previously used for building military vessels – called Vlissingen East – in order to free up space to build its new SeaXplorer series. This yard space will also be used to build Damen Yacht Support vessels, such as the 55 metre project Power Play, currently in build.
The SeaXplorer 77 has been commissioned by a client who wants to use it as a surfing, diving and heliskiing platform. This 2,700GT yacht is due to launch in 2020 as a follow-up to the SeaXplorer 65, also in build, which is scheduled for fitting out at the end of 2018.
Rose Damen, commercial director of yachting at Damen and Amels, shared that the SeaXplorer 77 places a strong emphasis on helicopter operations, designed around a pair of customised Airbus ACH125s.
“It not only has a fully certified helideck for safe landings, it also has a standby surface for a backup helicopter,” she said. "Both helicopters can fit in the below deck hangar, so they’re protected from the elements.”
Key features will include a dedicated ski room with avalanche safety equipment and enough storage space for snowmobiles, Jet Skis and a 10.5 metre tender, while the reinforced ice classed hull, compliant with the new IMO Polar Code, will allow the SeaXplorer 77 to operate safely in high latitude regions.
The owner, who has been heavily involved in the design process, added, “Some people think that fans of outdoor activities should stay in fleabag motels and dry their wet socks on radiators. I believe that you can combine the most active outdoor adventures and sports with ultimate comfort.”
Dedicated aircraft fuel tanks, storage for helicopter spares and pilot accommodation will add to its globetrotting credentials. A true explorer yacht, the SeaXplorer 77 will have a maximum autonomy of 40 days.
Accommodation is for up to 12 guests and 25 members of staff, including, guides and pilots as well as the yacht's operational crew.
Additional details are being kept under wraps for now, but it is understood that Azure Naval Architects contributed to the naval architecture, and the yacht will have an estimated cruising speed of 14.5 knots.